The 2023 NFL draft will start in a couple of weeks on April 27th. It is a huge draft for the Packers as they want to continue to build this young roster. The Packers currently have ten picks in this year’s draft. If the Aaron Rodgers trade can get done with the New York Jets, the Packers can acquire more picks for the draft this year. More picks will help the Packers, especially building around the new starting quarterback Jordan Love. There are many prospects to watch as the draft approaches, and here are those players.
Jaxon Smith Njigba- Top WR Prospect for the Packers
The Packers’ drought of not drafting a wide receiver in the first round could be coming to an end this year. That is because they have a good chance of drafting Jaxon Smith Njigba in the first round. Do not let his 40-time fool you, as when watching games, he is much faster. Not to mention he is arguably the best route running prospect in the draft. He can play any position and showed he is a very versatile player.
It would fill a need for the Packers as they need a slot receiver, with Randall Cobb most likely not being re-signed. He is the perfect complement for Christain Watson and Romeo Doubs, giving Jordan Love another weapon on offense. Look for Jaxon Smith Nijgba to be drafted by the Packers if he is available when they are on the board in the first round.
Nolan Smith- Gives The Packers Another Solid Pass Rusher
Since the combine, Nolan Smith has been skyrocketing on everybody’s draft boards. He is now projected to be a first-round pick this year. Not to mention he could even sneak within the top ten as well. With Rashan Gary recovering from his torn ACL last season, he could miss the first couple of weeks of the season this year. The pass rush struggled when Gary was out. Packers have Preston Smith, Kingsley Enagbare, and Justin Hollins right now as the current edge rushers.
They need to add more talent to that group, and that is where Nolan Smith comes in. Good chance he is available in the first round, and it will be hard for the Packers to pass on him, considering they need more edge help. He would help give the Packers a more effective pass rush even when Gary returns. Keep an eye out for Nolan Smith in the draft for the Packers.
Jalin Hyatt- A Speedy WR Prospect
Jalin Hyatt is arguably the most explosive receiving prospect in this year’s draft. His speed was demonstrated in college football last year as he showed he could run by opposing defenders. He put himself on the map with his breakout game against Alabama when he had 207 yards and five touchdowns in a monster performance. He most likely will be a late first or early second-round pick in the draft. His speed is incredible, but his route running could use some work, and he may need to add some size when going against bigger corners in the NFL.
It would be a reach for the Packers to draft in the first round. However, if he is available again in the second round, they should definitely consider taking him. He adds more speed alongside Christain Watson. He and Watson could take the top off of defenses and make the Packers’ offense faster and more explosive. Hyatt would be a player the Packers should watch, especially on day two.
Devon Whitherspoon- Best Corner Prospect In The Draft
Devon Whitherspoon is rated as the best corner prospect in the draft this year. Despite not showing much at the combine due to his hamstring injury, he showed out on his pro day and solidified himself as a first-round pick this year. Yes, the Packers do not have a need at corner, but you do not draft for needs. In addition, with Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas on the outside at corner, the Packers could probably use a slot corner. Head coach Matt Lafleur stated Kisean Nixion is the starter at slot corner.
However, Whitherspoon has played over one hundred snaps at slot corner in college, showing he can play there. Despite corner not being a need having Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Eric Stokes (when he returns from injury), and Whitherspoon really could make the Packers’ secondary very scary. Do not be surprised if the Packers draft Devon Witherspoon in the first round.
Darnell Wright- Had A Recent Visit With The Packers And Is Trending Up Draft Boards
Darnell Wright is one of the top prospects at offensive tackle this year. He is a very solid player. In 2022 he gave up zero sacks and even shut down the best pass rusher in the draft Will Anderson when Tennessee played Alabama. He is projected to be a first-round pick this year. Offensive tackle is a need mainly for the future. As for right tackle, no starter has been named, but it most likely goes to either Yosh Ninjman or Zach Tom. In addition, Packers do have solid depth at offensive tackle. However, David Bakhtiari is getting old, and maybe Tom or Ninjman might not be the long-term starter at right tackle.
Wright is very solid in pass protection and is shown to be a mauler in the run game. He had a top-30 visit with the Packers, and it seems they have some mutual interest. Wright could be a first-round pick for the Packers, and it would be the most unpopular pick because the position is not a significant need for them. Yet, the Packers need to look to the future and find a long-term starter. It should not be a surprise if the Packers draft Darnell Wright in the first round.
Darnell Washington- The Freak Athlete Tight End Getting A Lot Of Buzz
Darnell Washington has been getting a lot of buzz in this draft. His size and freakish athletic ability have been catching the eye of many teams. However, his skills as a pass catcher are yet to be seen. In all fairness, he was behind Brock Bowers last year for Georgia and did not get a chance to show what he can do in the passing game. His run and even pass blocking is very impressive as he is considered to be an extra offensive lineman. The Packers have a massive need at tight end, as it is the biggest hole on the roster.
Drafting Washington in the first round would be a massive reach for the Packers. Getting him on day two in the second round or later would be a much better way to go. His run blocking can really help the Packers in the run game. It even can help stay in pass blocking as well. Darnell Washington would be one of the top day-two prospects the Packers will be watching.
Jordan Battle- A Perfect Third-Round Pick Option For The Packers
The Packers, indeed, have a big question mark at safety. Yet, this year’s draft class is not the strongest as in recent years. NFL draft analyst Daniel Jerimiah said it was a bad year to need safety and that the class is paper thin. One player, however, that can be a target for the Packers at safety is Jordan Battle. Battle is an exciting prospect in the draft this year. He is very good in run support and even has the versatility to play in the slot.
However, in pass coverage, he is very inconsistent, as he knew where to be many times last year but didn’t make the play. Also, sadly he does not have the production to match the ability he has. Safety is a position of need for the Packers, but they will probably wait till day two or three to take a safety like Jordan Battle.
Lukas Van Ness- An Explosive Pass Rushin Prospect
Lukas Van Ness is a very good pass-rushing prospect this year. His stock keeps rising weekly, and he could sneak into the first round this year. The tools are there for him to be an outstanding pass rusher in the NFL. One thing to note is his lack of experience, as he was never a full-time starter in college. He was great in a rotational role but never was a starter. Not a big negative, but it is something worth noting.
It is a little risky taking him in the first, but then again, he has all of the athletic traits the Packers would love to have on the team. Not to mention the need for them to add more help at pass rusher with Rashan Gary recovering from his ACL injury. If they draft him, Lukas Van Ness would be an excellent addition for the Packers this year.
Dalton Kincaid- A Tight End Who Can Stretch The Field
Dalton Kincaid is arguably the best pass-catching tight-end prospect in the draft. Has the ability to create mismatches against opposing defenders. He is an exceptional route runner as well. The Packers desperately need a tight end that can be a weapon in the passing game on offense. They have been lacking that since the days of Jermicheal Finley. The Packers might look to take a tight end this year pretty early.
They should not draft Kincaid in round one as it is much better value to draft him in the second or third if available. His run blocking is not the best, so it is easy to say he will not be too involved in run plays on offense. The Packers need to address tight end in the draft this year; that answer could be Dalton Kincaid.
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